Manufacturing guy-at-large.

Photos from a speaker factory in Dongguan

Added on by Spencer Wright.

This past July, Zach and I took a trip to the Pearl River Delta to visit, among other things (see one, two), the factory in Dongguan that made the speakers for The Public Radio. Below are some long overdue photos from the visit, along with whatever comments I can muster up from memory. 

Note: if you click on the photos, you can seem them larger. Some also have my own notes on them too.

Like most factories I've visited in both China and Taiwan, this one comprised a cluster of buildings around a large concrete courtyard. Immediately inside the gate on the right hand side (out of view of the photos below) was the office building; to its left was the assembly shop, then dormitories, then a building that housed the toolroom and the injection molding line.

We started our tour in the office building. I didn't get any photos of the conference areas, where we spent a good portion of the visit (we needed to discuss a redesign of the speaker, which was going to require new tooling and a few other changes). We dropped our bags there and introduced ourselves, and then went upstairs to see the R&D area.

There were a *lot* of different speakers here. The main part of the R&D area housed a few cubicles, each of which seemed to have more product on it than the last. There was also a small workshop area for assembling sample units, a semi soundproof chamber, and a listening room.

Our supplier had on site tooling and injection molding. We didn't even realize this coming in, but it was great to see that they could have full control of their own process and design. 

Tooling is then sent next door to the injection molding line. Our factory was in the process of installing automated part handling on a few of their machines, which was interesting to see in real time. 

Then up to the speaker assembly area. They had (if I recall correctly) six moving assembly lines, which were broken up by the size of the speakers they could handle. Speaker assembly is mostly a process of gluing different components together, so there were a bunch of specialized tools that would inject adhesive in a controlled manner.

Back outside. The office is on the left here, then the injection molding line & toolroom, then the assembly shop.

Heading back to Dongguan that afternoon, I was impressed with what we had seen. This was a pretty small business, and we were a tiny customer. They (like most of the people we talked to in China) were somewhat confused with our product, but they had a good attitude and definitely understood why we wanted to make the changes we had asked for - and were interested in helping us get what we wanted.